Why A Gum Graft Is Nothing to Worry About
If your dentist has recently informed you that you’re going to need a gum graft, you might have questions—including whether it’s going to hurt! But you have nothing to fear, as this procedure is an excellent means of addressing severe gum disease. Here’s more from your dentist about this form of gum disease therapy and a few tips for ensuring a smooth recovery process so that your smile is able to quickly get back to looking its best.
What Is a Dental Gum Graft?
A gum graft is a minor surgical procedure utilized to restore gum tissue that’s been destroyed or compromised, often by gum disease. Untreated periodontitis (advanced gum disease) can irreversibly destroy your gum tissue and even lead to tooth loss, due to the roots of the teeth eventually becoming exposed. This exposure can also result from bad oral habits like overbrushing or using a hard-bristled toothbrush, but infection resulting from poor oral hygiene is the most common cause.
However, gum grafts are often the best way to restore this compromised tissue and in turn, protect your tooth roots! Your dentist will borrow gum tissue, often from somewhere else in your mouth, and graft it onto the treatment area; this essentially restores the tissue in the damaged area. It’s a relatively straightforward process that sets your gums up for better health moving forward.
Do Dental Gum Grafts Hurt?
The very first thing your dentist will do is numb your mouth with an anesthetic, so you don’t have to be concerned about pain at all when it comes to a gum graft! However, you might experience some discomfort following the procedure, depending on if any tissue was removed from your palate. In any case, your dentist will provide you with aftercare instructions for addressing any swelling or minor discomfort, often including the use of prescribed medications.
Tips for Ensuring a Smooth Recovery Following a Gum Graft
You should prioritize your aftercare and follow any specific guidelines provided by your dentist. You can also consider the following tips:
- To reduce any bleeding, gently place gauze on the surgical site (not directly on top, but instead to either side of the site).
- Avoid strenuous physical activities for the following 3 – 7 days, as increased blood flow can interfere with the healing process.
- Do not pull out your lip to try to see the wound, and refrain from using your tongue to touch it.
- Do not brush or use mouthwash for the first 24 hours. For the next month, you’ll have to be very careful when brushing near the surgical site.
- Avoid hot drinks and foods for 2 – 3 days following the procedure and stick to a soft-foods diet for the first week, slowly reintroducing harder foods.
As long as you’re diligent throughout the aftercare process, your smile will be back in tip-top shape in no time at all following a gum graft! That said, if your dentist thinks a gum graft is necessary, pain isn’t something you should worry about.